Lorraine: You know the deal.
Regardless of what you were when you first watched this episode (book reader, spoiled show watcher, or unspoiled show watcher), I think we all sat down to this episode with the anxiety only the best content can create. It’s episode 9, friends, also known as the episode that brought us the beheading of Ned Stark, the Battle of the Blackwater and now this.
Sweeney: I told Lor this already, but in our on-going game of, “Haha, see what shit the other can get stuck with!” — usually played out on Fifty Shades, and occasionally Buffy — this was probably the worst draw yet. It was crap luck for vastly different reasons, of course, but painful, crap luck all the same. Someone suggested we just put up a music video of The Rains of Castamere and call it a day. I probably would have taken that suggestion, so snaps to Lor for actually writing a post.
Lor: And on that note, here we go:
The credits take us to King’s Landing, Dragonstone, The Twins (where we’ve been before but I’m not certain we’ve seen on the map. Regardless, a little seen place on the map would usually be a cause of slight joy to us Snark Ladies. However, I’ve already seen this episode and am being forced to watch it AGAIN for the recap. That all parenthetically said, FUCK THE TWINS.) Winterfell Seriously Someone Should’ve Put That Fire Out Already, The Wall and Yunkai.
We start the episode with a close up on a map showing Casterly Rock surrounded by little figurine lion heads. Because of course we start the episode that way considering how we end the episode. Sorry. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself.
We also see figurine wolves as well as figurine towers and figurine flayed men. Who the fuck has flayed men as their house sigil? BOLTON, HOUSE OF PERPETUAL TORTURE AND BAD THINGS. Sorry. I’m not doing too well so far with not getting ahead of myself. Interestingly, though, the figurines are meant to represent Robb Stark’s latest plan to capture Casterly Rock. They actually show Starks surrounded by Lannisters, Freys and Boltons. Motherfuck.
Sweeney: Careful now. You need to conserve your cries.
Lor: I’m doing my best.
Lady Catelyn Stark asks if Robb is sure of his plan, since it looks awfully dangerous. Robb says that if they take Tywin’s home everyone will know that he isn’t invincible. Cat wants to know why Robb is sharing all of this with her and he’s all, “hey remember how I haven’t been listening to you all season? Yeaaaah. That’s kind of sucked for me.” NO KIDDING, ROBB.
Sweeney: REMEMBER HOW WE’VE BEEN TELLING YOU ALL SEASON TO FUCKING GET IT TOGETHER AND STOP BEING SUCH A DICK TO YOUR TOTALLY FUCKING RIGHT MOTHER? YEAH. ABOUT THAT.
Lor: Cat regards him for a second before she asks if he has enough men. Robb says that depends on Walder Frey’s cooperation. Cat points out that if more Lannister troops arrive before they take the castle, the Stark army will by caught between lions and the sea. As Robb says this, he very pointedly puts down a Frey tower. “We’ll lose the war and die the way father died. Or worse.”
Uh, Ned died of stupidity, Robb. Worse would be dying of extreme stupidity and… okay. I see what you did there.
Lady Cat thinks that over for a second and then replies, “show them how it feels to lose what they love.” And the audience says, “WE GET IT.”
Sweeney: In an effort to distract myself from my feels, I’ll point out that Michelle Fairley does a phenomenal job throughout this episode. And in my headcanon it ends with that line. EPISODE OVER. LET’S ALL GO HOME NOW.
Lor: Cute! We appreciate you trying.
We cut to a very badly CGI’ed direwolf running in front of some soldiers. That was probably the worse piece of CGI we’ve seen all season. I’m guessing the budget was eaten up by extended Emilia Clarke nudity last episode. Oh, and you know, dragons. These soldiers are carrying the Stark banners and arrive at (Fuck) The Twins. Lord Walder Frey is welcoming them in the deadest voice imaginable, as they eat what appears to be salt and bread. No one looks like they want to be eating it.
Robb starts to apologize to Walder Frey, but Frey says he wasn’t the spurned party; it was one of his daughters who missed out on the opportunity to marry a king. He parades them all out, introduces them and fumbles around their names. None of them are particularly beastly, but they all could benefit from a shower, a brush, some hair gel, glistening personalities and sparkling senses of humor. Have I ever told you about how I don’t call ugly babies ugly and I instead suggest that they might need to pick up a viable talent in the near future? The Frey girls should all learn how to play guitar, is all I’m saying.
Robb apologizes to the Need Guitar Lessons Girls, saying that any man would be lucky to have them. He just so happened to fall in love with someone else. He begs their forgiveness and says he wants to be friends with the Freys. Walder chuckles and sends his daughters off. Then, he spots Talisa and calls her forward. “Love. That’s what the Starks of Winterfell call it, eh?” Frey thinks it’s more about about Talisa’s pretty face and shapely body. He notes that they’ve tried to hide her in a frumpy dress, but he’s got some sort of creeper-vision that allows him to see underneath dresses. Not literally, I know, but it’s still creeper-vision to me. I mean, he says, “I bet when you take that dress off, everything stays right where it is.” CREEP.
Sweeney: It’s definitely creeper vision. He spends an uncomfortable amount of time discussing his ability to see underneath even the frumpiest of dresses.
Lor: Frey keeps being gross and says that Robb betrayed him for firm tits and a tight fit. Robb makes a move all, “?” but Cat holds him back. Good looking out, mom. Frey says that he respects oath breaking for hot girls because it’s what he would’ve done at Robb’s age too. I’m going to be completely honest here and say that at this point in my naive episode viewing, I found Frey mildly amusing. For real. I’m only left to feel ashamed of how I once felt. (But seriously, though, Robb. Ain’t no one buying that you did it for love…)
That all done, Frey says it’s time to let the wine flow, music play for this entire mess to be put behind them. Excuse me.
Across the Shivering Sea, Daenerys Targaryen is consulting a map of her own. She asks Mr. of the pretty hair and lover of consensual sex, Daario Naharis where something is, and he comes over to consensually invade her personal space and seduce her hand to the proper location on the map. Ser Jorah Mormont is on hand to give A+ KILL ME NOW eyes.
Sweeney: He’s pretty aggressively reminding the audience that he’s been Friendzoned all throughout the episode. Sorry, bro, you need to look into whatever conditioner the Second Sons are using. And maybe being about 20 years younger.
Lor: Apparently, all this was to point out a back gate into Yunkai. The Second Sons sometimes use it when they go probably non-consensually sleep with slaves. Daario’s plan is to slip in the back gate with Dany’s two best swordsmen, fight their way through the city, open the front gate, and let the Unsullied in that way to take the city. Jorah’s all, “COOL STORY BRO, but you could be leading me to my death.” Daario says that only dishonest people have suspicious minds.
I waiver a little on Jorah. Mostly, it’s really awkward how his entire storyline is all about the most epic Friend Zone on two fictional continents, you know? But I must side with him here. I don’t think it’s dishonest or overly suspicious to question the guy you basically just met. Daario, my conditioned hair winner across the sea: You can’t be all, “hey! Nice to meet you. Yeah, no worries. The bros on the opposing army are totally cool. They’ll let you right in. It’ll be fine,” especially to the people in the room you aren’t hand seducing.
Sweeney: +1 to all of this, in spite of my lack of sympathy for Jorah.
Lor: It’s all a moot point, anyways, because Dany asks Grey Worm if he trusts Daario, and he does. So, Daario’s COOL STORY BRO Plan it is.
North of the Wall, Samwell and Gilly are still trudging along in the snow. I cared about them for about 30 seconds last episode, but then Sam left the knife behind.
Sam is spouting facts about Castle Black and The Night’s Watch. Gilly asks how Sam knows all of these things and Sam says he reads. Gilly makes Sam (and book nerds everywhere, really) cream his pants when she’s all, “WOW! You read and retain knowledge? YOU’RE LIKE A WIZARD.” And to make it even better for them at least, they see they’ve reached the wall.
Next we join The Hound as he menacingly reminds Arya that she is to cooperate. The Hound approaches a man whose cart has broken down on the road. The Hound lifts the cart for the delivery man, so that he can put the wheel back in place. Delivery Man helpfully exposits that he’s on his way to The Twins to deliver salted pork for the wedding. The Hound promptly knocks him out and draws his knife.
Arya runs over and pushes The Hound back. She tells him not to kill the Delivery Man and mocks him for thinking he’s so tough, with his saying mean things to little girls, killing little boys and old men. Arya says she knows an actual badass and WE MISS YOU A-MAN even though your new face is kind of tragic and in need of some violin lessons. But, still, come back and kill some people ASAP.
Anyways, Arya begs him not to kill the man. The Hound: You are very kind. Some day it will get you killed. The passing delivery man starts groaning and stirring. Arya grabs a nearby piece of wood and smacks him over the head so he drops again, unconscious. She drops the
mic piece of wood and walks away. The Hound looks fairly impressed. I JUST LOVE HER SO MUCH.
Sweeney: Arya Stark should have given her older brother some lessons in proper Direbossing.
Lor: The Reeds, Bran, Rickon, Osha and Hodor arrive at a place Osha helpfully tells us is The Gift, some lands given to the Night’s Watch for sustenance and support. Jojen and Meera wonder why no one lives in this totally great land, and it’s kind of awkward because it’s all the Wildlings’s fault, and there’s a Wildling right there. Osha grills them all as Rickon says he heard Wildlings make you drink blood from a cup made of your own skull. I’m not sure about logistics there, mostly because I’m amazed at how every time Rickon opens his mouth, he’s somehow made even creepier.
Sweeney: I’m pretty sure the writers are doing this shit on purpose now because he’s just so consistently unintentionally creepy. I think they know about all the GoT drinking games.
Lor: Ginger NotMance [Tormund Giantsbane] asks Jon what the old man he’s spotted is doing with 8 good horses. Jon says Dead Old Man Walking breeds them for the Night’s Watch. Ginger NotMance and the Wildling Warg [Orwell] get really excited about killing this old man. Jon says they should just take the horses and go, earning him crazy eyes from the rest of the Wildlings. Off the group of about 20 Wildlings go to steal them some horses and kill them an old man.
Jon clangs his sword against a rock and it spooks the horses enough to get the Dead Old Man’s attention. He comes out to see crazy Wildlings charging toward him, so he quickly mounts a horse and takes off. Ygritte tries to shoot him with an arrow, but Jon stops her from hitting her mark.
Arya looks at The Twins. The Feelsy Flutes are on hand to mock us as she drinks in the sight. The Hound notes that Arya keeps looking toward the towers, like she’s afraid they’ll move.
He must mean the audience’s fear, fight? Because accurate.
Sweeney: This is extra awful and painful now. Dislike. Can we revisit the music-video-and-call-it-a-day plan yet?
Lor: I think we’ve come too far.
Arya says she’s seen The Hound’s fear too. He looked like a scared little girl when Berric lit a sword on fire to fight him. The Hound is visibly taken aback. Arya knows he’s afraid because his brother once pressed his face against a fire. The Hound points out that this is the closest Arya’s been to any member of her family since Ned’s beheading. Arya whips around and looks him square in the eye. “Someday, I’m going to put a sword through your eye and out the back of your skull.”
She gives really good threat when you consider the difference in age, size and strength.
Thunder takes us from that scene back to the other Stark children, who are staying in an abandoned tower. Bran is wondering how they are going to get on the other side of The Wall. Hodor is freaking out during this exchange because of the peals of thunder. Meera is looking out of a window and notices the Dead Old Man Walking riding through the rain. She then sees the Wildlings that are chasing him. Osha asks after Shaggydog and Summer and Bran says they are out hunting. Hodor is really freaking out now and is in danger of giving their position away. Bran says, “Hush Hodor. No more hodoring,” and it’s precious. He made Hodor a verb and I approve.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t actually calm Hodor down and his hodoring has attracted the attention of the Wildling Warg. In the commotion, Bran’s eyes Warg-out (that is, they become all white) and Hodor falls to his knees, then falls flat, and falls asleep. Bran comes back and Rickon is all, “and I thought I was the creepy Stark.” Something like that.
Sweeney: 1430. Also, this moment just made Bran’s whole story infinitely more film-worthy. S3 Bran has been kind of like S2 Jon Snow — “Here I am again. Hanging out.” I imagine this Bran arc is a lot more compelling in book form, but after this episode I have serious reservations about whether I have the emotional strength to ever find out.
Outside, the Wildling Warg says he heard shouting up in the tower, but thankfully, Ginger NotMance thinks it more likely that there are ghosts in the tower than people. I’m not really questioning this considering how some other Starks fare in this episode.
The Wildling Warg suggests killing Dead Old Man Walking, so he won’t tattle to the Night’s Watch. Ginger is ready to get his kill on, but WW [Wildling Warg] thinks it’s a better idea if Jon does it to prove that he’s truly a Wildling.
Back up in the tower, Jojen tries to get Bran to Warg-out again and ride inside of Summer. Bran doesn’t think he can, but Jojen gives him a MAGICKS! pep-talk.
Jon draws his sword and gets ready to kill Dead Old Man Walking, but he can’t bring himself to do it. Ygritte is the one who finally shoots an arrow through Dead Old Man’s heart. WW says that Jon is still a crow and will betray the Wildlings first chance he gets. Ginger NotMance orders him killed, but Jon is the best fighter EVAR, so he’s able to hold off multiple attacks. Ygritte is flipping the fuck out, as Ginger NotMance holds her back from the fighting.
In the tower, Bran is finally able to Warg-out again, and he gets Summer to DIREBOSS CHOMP a Wildling. There is full on throat eating, and, ew.
I can’t imagine that Jon would leave Ygritte, but more than that, he saw the direwolves and he must know what that means. There was probably no way for him to recognize or further investigate without outing his brothers, but they were just so close.
Sweeney: The bird pecking made me cringe. It’s almost funny, now, that I was getting so squeamish over that. Ha.
Anyway, YES. THIS. I’m a little confused by how many Wildlings were still alive at this point, because it seemed like Jon could have stuck around longer than he did. I don’t know if he just didn’t want to face Ginger NotMance? Or if he didn’t really count on continued direwolf backup? I don’t know, but it was really painful to watch us get THIS CLOSE to having three Starks (basically) together again, only to watch Jon Snow ride off.
Lor: Outside of the walls of Yunkai, it’s time to enact the COOL STORY BRO Plan. Daario gets the back gate guard to let him in and then signals for Jorah and Grey Worm to follow. Daario easily killed the two guards he found inside and is saying how there probably won’t be any more guards when a whole truck load of more guards arrive. Thankfully, Dany’s men are the best fighters EVAR, and not more than 1-2 people attack them at a time. The three of them have different styles with Jorah using a broadsword, Daario using a scythe-looking thing and Grey Worm rocking his long spear and typical Unsullied shield. Guards handled.
Except here come like a million more. Let’s hope they all patiently wait for their turns to be killed.
Walder Frey is walking his veiled daughter down the aisle toward Edmure Tully, who looks pretty uncomfortable. Walder lifts his daughter veil. From Edmure’s point of view we see that she is actually very pretty and rather young looking. She kneels before her husband to be and says she hopes she’s not a disappointment. He helps her up and says, “girl, you look young and nubile! I’m going to save a TON on music lessons.” He doesn’t say that.
Sweeney: Eh. That’s almost a direct quote.
Lor: The Internet is telling me that pretty Frey girl’s name is Roslin. Roslin looks over at Robb, who then looks at Walder all, “SERIOUSLY?” Walder gives a little shrug that, again, I found hilarious on first viewing. Oh, Robb.
At The Gift, Bran is surprised about his, well, gift. Jojen says that there are wargs north of the wall that can control all sorts of animals, but Bran got inside Hodor’s mind, and that is an ability singular to him. Bran shares that he saw Jon when he was riding around in Summer. I feel like I’m extra sensitive to Stark children being near each other and the fact that Bran even SAW Jon is making the feels lodge in my throat.
Lor: Bran is convinced that he has to go find the three-eyed raven north of The Wall, but he says he won’t make Osha come with. In fact, it will be too dangerous for Rickon and someone needs to watch him. Rickon freaks out because, seriously? SERIOUSLY? WE ARE GOING TO SEPARATE THE STARKS EVEN FURTHER? Bran suggests they go to the Umbers and stay there. Osha comforts Rickon by saying that the Umbers are great warriors and will teach him how to fight. Osha decides to leave right that moment and they say their goodbyes to Bran.
Sweeney: This made my feels explode into something a little more rage like than anything else. STOP FUCKING SPLITTING UP THE FAMILY. I’M GOING TO FIND YOU AND PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH, MARTIN.
Lor: Just as Dany wonders where her soldiers could be, Jorah and Grey Worm enter. Jorah is covered in blood, but he brings the news that the slave soldiers surrendered and they have claimed Yunkai. Dany’s all, “Cool! BUT OMG. WHERE IS THE PRETTY HAIR?” Jorah’s heart breaks right before our very eyes. It’s strange that after so many things led up to the sacking of Yunkai, the actual event happened in a very, “…and then we sacked Yunkai” way. Then again, considering what is still coming up in this episode, yeah, skip the additional killing. I’ll take your word for it.
We head back to the wedding at the Frey’s where there is much music and merriment. Cat comments to Blackfish that Edmure complained the entire ride from Riverrun about the marriage and now he’s laughing it up with his young bride. Cat notices that Lord Bolton turns down a drink and asks if he doesn’t drink. He says no, because it dulls the senses and you never know when you have to betray goodness or kick puppies or murder unicorns or destroy happiness. Gotta stay sharp for that stuff, you know? He also mentions that Walder offered him one of his daughter’s weight in silver as a dowry, so he picked and married the fattest Frey he could find. Blackfish excuses himself to take the most timely piss ever.
Robb notices that Cat is alone with Bolton now, and says he should go rescue her. Talisa says Lady Cat is the lady least in need of rescuing ever. In light of what is coming, I want to both agree and disagree, but we will get there. Robb tells Talisa to be nice. She says that she likes Robb’s mommy, but that if Lady Cat had her way, Talisa would be back in Volantis playing the harp. We’ve had a lot of shit to say about everything being Talisa’s fault and that’s been pretty unfair but not completely unfair. I think this is another nod to the idea that it’s mostly Talisa’s fault and that Robb should’ve listened to his mother.
Sweeney: SORRY NOT SORRY, TALISA. YOU SHOULD BE BACK IN VOLANTIS PLAYING THAT HARP.
Lor: Walder calls out to Robb and says that Edmure and Roslin are not yet man and wife because, “a sword needs a sheath and a wedding needs a bedding.” The crowd gets rowdy so Robb stands and gets the bedding ceremony underway. Edmure laughs and Roslin looks like she’s going to pee herself. Jaunty music plays as men rush forward and grab Roslin. They lift her and carry her off to bed. The women grab Edmure and start undressing him. Talisa looks horrified.
Catelyn feels for Roslin, but Lord Bolton says it’s the fate of all brides. Cat shares that Ned forbade the bedding ceremony at their own wedding, because OF COURSE HE DID. Lord Bolton can’t even handle Ned’s honor by proximity or storytelling so he gets out of there.
Sweeney: THANKS FOR THE NED’S HONOR AND GOODNESS REMINDERS AND ALL THE CORRESPONDING FEELS, EPISODE. -_-
Lor: Talisa says that the bedding ceremony is strange and Robb says it’s the only way to prove that a marriage was consummated. Talisa takes this moment to remind all us poor, unsuspecting viewers at home that she’s with child, which is another way to prove consummation. Robb asks if it’s a boy or girl, but Talisa has no guesses. She does say, though, that if it’s a boy, they should name him Eddard.
We’ve been guessing for WEEKS now that Robb was going to die, and listing off the ways we could tell that was true. He could’ve done NONE OF THAT, but still decided at this moment to name his kid NED MF STARK, and my, “you’s about to die” radar would be pinging all over the place.
Lady Cat is watching those two love birds and notices when a man in armor passes her by and closes the doors to the great hall. The band then starts playing “The Rains of Castamere,” and this is about the time I broke my Twitter with capslock exclamations. It was such an eerie scene and the song in and of itself is completely haunting. Add to that the way Catelyn immediately notices something is off, and the look on her face… UGH.
Sweeney: Again, Michelle Fairley was amazing in this episode. She didn’t have to do much of anything to guarantee feels, but she made sure to bring it. There was more to that sentence, but I’ll stop because of feels and the fact that we have more post to get through.
Lor: The song takes us outside to Robb’s howling direwolf and then to The Hound and Arya as they ride up to the Frey castle. They are stopped by guards who insist that the wedding is over. Arya notices soldiers marching toward the castle and takes this opportunity to hop off the cart and go investigate.
Walder stops the musicians and calls Robb forward. He says he’s given Robb meat, wine, and music, but has neglected to give him a wedding gift. During this, Cat looks over at Bolton with horror and realization. She lifts the sleeve of his tunic a bit and sees chain mail. To her everlasting direboss credit, she slaps the shit out of Bolton and cries out to Robb, who responds in slow shock. A Frey soldier pulls out a small dagger, approaches Talisa from behind, and stabs her repeatedly in the stomach.
The sound effect of the knife squishing into her belling is something I will not soon forget. And forgive me, because we don’t know if it was a boy or girl, but little hypothetical Ned Stark was put to death before he even made it out of the womb.
Sweeney: That was such an intense way to begin this whole intense scene. I’m still in the “shocked, horrified, and devastated” phase, but if I were able to distance myself enough from that, I might be able to comment more on how well-assembled this scene was to achieve maximum shock/horror/devastation. It’s hard to do that, though, when I look a little more like this:
And, you know, feeling a little sheepish about all the time and energy I’ve dedicated to hating Talisa. Not that I actually take it all back, but it’s hard to blame her too much when she’s about to bleed out after having her unborn baby murdered out of her.
Lor: Because this is something behind just “they are going to die.” That is such a plain statement, one we’ve been making again and again. But that isn’t what happened. She was brutalized, and you are right, the way the entire scene was well assembled. We see that in just a bit as we cut from inside to outside, prolonging and extending the tension.
Robb starts toward Talisa, but there are men armed with crossbows up in the gallery, and they shoot him through both shoulders and in the stomach. A full out massacre scene begins as Walder Frey watches as all of Robb’s men are slaughtered. Cat is shot through the back.
Arya hides and watches as she sees Frey men slaughter more of Robb’s men outside of the castle. She hears Grey Wind howling and desperately trying to break out of the cage he’s in. She tries to run to him, but is cut off by soldiers who shoot the wolf. Arya watches as Grey Wind dies and that hurts my heart just as much as anything else that happens. Arya tries to make it inside of the castle, but The Hound finds her in time and tells her it’s too late. He knocks her out, and carries her away.
Sweeney: Yet again, we got so close to a trio of Starks, only to fall short. This time in the worst way imaginable.
Lor: And The Hound, the terrible but not terrible Hound, saves her.
Back inside, Robb crawls over to Talisa and holds her bloodied body in his arms. Catelyn notices that Frey’s young wife is cowering under his table. Arrow in mother fucking shoulder, she grabs a discarded knife and pulls the girl out from underneath the table. She holds the knife to her throat and begs Walder to end the massacre. She swears that they will not take vengeance on him, if only he would let Robb go.
Robb lays Talisa’s lifeless body back down on the ground, back into the pool of her own blood.
Catelyn is begging him to get up and walk out, but it very much looks like Robb is already dead.
Catelyn begs her son, and in that moment, even though I know there is no way out, I still have a small hope that there is something he can do. He is a hero, isn’t he? He can make it out of this alive, can’t he?
Sweeney: I remember feeling similarly about Ned’s death. Even after it happened, I was pretty convinced that I was going to watch episode 10 and find out it was some sort of horrifying dream sequence.
Lor: Walder Frey ends our hope and says he would not let Robb walk out, even with Cat threatening his wife. He only need find a new one.
Robb stands and calls his mother. His final goodbye. It’s over, as he looks at her, only half there. Not struggling, only slurring over his last word.
Roose Bolton grabs Robb and tells him the Lannisters send their regards. He stabs Robb, who makes no more sound as he falls to his knees and dies. The King in the North, killed at a wedding, and perhaps all because of a wedding.
Catelyn cries out in agony, and in one swift motion, kills the girl she held hostage in her hands. Then she too is silent and still as she waits for her own death. It comes quickly in the form of a slit throat. We stay focused on the place where she once stood, until the scene cuts to black, and the credits roll without music.
This was no less gut wrenching on second watch. It felt no easier when I knew it was coming. It was beautifully acted, start to finish.
Sweeney: Agreed — everything about it was wonderfully done. I loved that the episode ended with so little sound and just silence over the end credits. Cat cries out in grief and anguish as she kills Frey’s wife and it’s so much more powerful because of the general lack of sound surrounding that moment. I can still hear it, because it was absolutely haunting.
Lor: Her last moment was absolutely brutal. There was no reason for Frey’s wife to die, other than it was the only last thing Cat could do.
I know plenty has been said by both TV show fans and book fans alike. So much was at play here, but let me just mention how brilliant a few elements were: (1) – Bringing the Stark family so close together at times only to rip them apart in such a permanent way. The best sort of fictional content is the evocative kind. What’s more, there is so much feeling to be explored in everything that was left unsaid. The remaining Stark children will never see their mother again. They are orphans, they are homeless and they are isolated. It breaks my heart.
(2) – In this game changing episode, named after a Lannister fight song, nary a Lannister was seen.
(3) – I’m not sure if it’s the same for book fans, but hear me out: I know this is the War of the Five Kings, but in so many ways Stark vs. Lannister has always been at the heart of the conflict. This was a crippling blow for the Starks– some might even say that they’ve lost and the Lannisters have won. I don’t know what’s true about the future of these two families, but we can certainly say that the Lannisters are the best positioned at this point. Robb is dead and his men appear to have suffered the same fate, Stannis has his Creepy Red Lady, but is still very much licking battle wounds, Dany is across the sea, and we haven’t heard from Mance Rayder or any of the Greyjoys in some time.
I will say that I love that in an episode that handicaps the Starks so deeply, we are shown just how much fight is left in them. Arya was never a bigger direboss, Bran is uniquely gifted and even creepy Rickon has notions of courage and honor.
Sweeney: THIS. SO MUCH THIS. Even after this crushing blow, I haven’t given up this sense that Starks are still fully in this. It makes no sense, because they’re down to being a band of homeless orphans, and yet. So THIS to that last point, but also everything else you just said.
Lor: Mostly, though, I think what I’m really trying to say is THEY BETTER NOT KILL ANY MORE STARKS, GOD DAMMIT.
Sweeney: THIS TOO.
Lor: And also, I’m never watching that again.
Twitter exploded during and after this episode. I even saw people who don’t watch the TV show discussing it. I wanted to include all of the feelings-y Tweets that were included in #gameofsnark, because the sheer amount of capslocks and exclamations was truly impressive. Things got a little long, though, so instead we share with you these more eloquent Tweets: